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Oral-B Addresses Children's Oral Health Needs at All Stages of Development During National Children's Dental Health Month

NEW YORK, Feb. 12, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- Oral-B(R) Stages, the dental professional's #1 recommended toothbrush brand for children, today announced the launch of a campaign in recognition of National Children's Dental Health Month. The campaign will help provide education about the state of children's oral health in America, which continues to be a concern for both parents and healthcare providers alike. In fact, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease(1) -- five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever(2) -- and has been recognized by both the U.S. Surgeon General and Congress as a "silent epidemic"(3).

As a leader in the oral care category and with the support of leading children's health thought leaders, Oral-B Stages will educate parents and healthcare providers about the importance of proper oral care at each stage of a child's development and offer solutions to help combat commonly-faced oral health issues before they lead to more severe health problems.

"Oral health is a commonly overlooked aspect of children's health and many parents don't realize that it can have a considerable impact on other areas of a child's development, including their speech(4), learning, nutrition and even self-esteem(5)," says Dr. Laura Jana, M.D., author and founder of Practical Parenting Consulting, LLC. "Parents should begin a proper oral care routine early and stay educated on the different oral health issues their children may face as they grow so they can be properly addressed."

Oral-B, with input and recommendations from leading experts like Dr. Laura Jana, recommends parents take the following steps to help maximize their child's oral health during all stages of development:

Stage 1 (4-24 months):

Babies and toddlers typically do not receive the recommended oral health risk assessment and interventions early enough, possibly resulting in preventable oral disease and a missed opportunity to instill healthy lifelong oral health habits.

What Parents Can Do:

-- Parents should ensure their child visits a pediatric dental professional by their first birthday to assess risks and dental development, and work on developing good bedtime habits like brushing teeth and avoiding using feeding as a signal for bed, which can expose teeth to sugary drinks (like formula or juice).

-- After feedings (breast or bottle), parents should take precaution by gently wiping a baby's gums with a soft, clean cloth and using a gum cleanser like Oral-B Stages Baby Tooth & Gum Cleanser.

-- When a baby's first teeth come in, use a toothbrush that is specifically designed to brush baby's gums and teeth, like Oral-B Stage 1, which features baby-soft bristles and a brush head that covers large surfaces and gently massages the gums.

Stage 2 (2-4 Years Old):

Parents of children between the ages of two and four are often concerned about speech development and faced with the task of instilling good habits, especially proper nutrition. Pain caused by tooth decay and infection can result in the development of poor eating habits(6) and an inability to eat comfortably(7). Additionally, if children lose teeth too early due to tooth decay or infection, the child can experience problems with speech development(8).

What Parents Can Do:

-- By being aware of the impact that nutrition and eating/drinking habits have on oral health (as well as overall health, obesity, etc.), parents can promote healthy habits such as limiting sugary drinks, getting rid of the bottle and/or sippy cup and offering healthier snack and meal choices.

-- To help overcome resistance to tooth brushing typical at this stage of development, and make the daily task more fun and accepted, parents can choose a toothbrush designed to appeal to a toddler who is learning to brush and whose baby teeth are growing in, like Oral-B Stage 2. With a narrow brush head, simple bristle pattern and a Power Tip, the Oral-B Stage 2 brush effectively helps to reach all teeth.

-- Starting at the age of two, children should use fluoridated toothpaste, like Oral-B Stages Toothpaste, to help prevent decay as their teeth continue to develop.

    -- Supervise brushing until good habits are established.

Stage 3 (5-7 Years Old):

Parents with children between the ages of five and seven are often concerned about their child's learning and social development and do not realize that -- in addition to pain and infection -- untreated oral disease in children can lead to distraction from play and learning, as well as missed school days for dental visits(9).

What Parents Can Do:

-- Take an active role in children's oral health, focusing on day-to-day prevention in addition to providing access to a dentist who may recommend sealants, fluoride treatment and filling cavities once they've already developed.

-- Make sure your child uses fluoridated toothpaste and a toothbrush - like Oral-B Stage 3 - that is designed to brush the permanent molars that are beginning to grow in, yet is sensitive to the tender areas where baby teeth are lost. The Oral-B Stage 3 brush features cup-shaped bristles that surround each tooth and a Power Tip that easily reaches around and behind back teeth.

Stage 4: (8+ Years Old):

Untreated oral disease and poor oral hygiene can negatively impact a child's self-esteem during a crucial stage of emotional development. Everything from bad breath and plaque-covered teeth to discolored, damaged or missing teeth can result in embarrassment and a diminished self-image(10).

What Parents Can Do:

-- Children 8+ years old should use fluoridated toothpaste and a toothbrush that is designed for a complex mixture of different sized permanent and baby teeth, like Oral-B Stage 4. The Oral-B Stage 4 brush features a combination of CrissCross bristles for cleaning, massaging bristles for sensitive gaps and a Power Tip to effectively reach and clean back teeth.

Oral-B recognizes the specific oral health needs of children at every age through the development of the Oral-B Stages line of products, which is designed to address children's unique needs -- including dentition (formation of their teeth and jaw), dexterity (ability to handle a toothbrush) and development (emotional changes and interest) -- as they grow.

As part of the effort to improve children's oral health nationwide, Oral-B sponsored an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) November 2008 event, "The National Summit on Children's Oral Health: A New Era of Collaboration," which brought together thought-leaders from the medical and dental communities to discuss various topics pertaining to children's oral health, including increasing access to dental care, improving oral health education and fostering collaboration between allied health professionals in the oral health field.

Oral-B Stages has also awarded the AAP a grant to help improve children's oral health in underserved communities across the country. The grant, dedicated to AAP's "Bright Futures/Oral Health" initiative, will provide oral health education and resources to health professionals, teaching them to conduct oral health risk assessments, perform exams, apply fluoride varnish and expand community commitment to combating oral disease.

Additionally, Crest(R) and Oral-B are jointly partnering with Operation Smile to help make a difference in children's smiles around the world. January 2009 through March 2009, Crest and Oral-B will make a donation to Operation Smile to give new smiles to hundreds of children around the world.

For additional information, please visit or contact Avery Schlicher at 212-468-4334 or


Oral-B is the worldwide leader in the over $5 billion brushing market. Part of the Procter & Gamble Company, the brand includes manual and power toothbrushes for children and adults, oral irrigators and interdental products, such as dental floss. Oral-B manual toothbrushes are used by more dentists than any other brand in the U.S. and many international markets.


Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers(R), Tide(R), Ariel(R), Always(R), Whisper(R), Pantene(R), Mach3(R), Bounty(R), Dawn(R), Pringles(R), Folgers(R), Charmin(R), Downy(R), Lenor(R), Iams(R), Crest(R), Oral-B(R), Actonel(R), Duracell(R), Olay(R), Head & Shoulders(R), Wella, Gillette(R) and Braun. The P&G community consists of over 135,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

    (1) National Oral Health Surveillance System," last reviewed September
        22, 2006.

    (2) "Children's Oral Health Fact Sheet," from the Office of the Surgeon
        General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2000; last
        updated October 4, 2004.

    (3) "Oral Health America: A Report of the Surgeon General," United
        States Department of Health & Human Service, May 25, 2000

    (4) "What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay," Academy of General Dentistry,
        January 2007

    (5) "Children's Oral Health Fact Sheet," from the Office of the Surgeon
        General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2000; last
        updated October 4, 2004.

    (6) "What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay," Academy of General Dentistry,
        January 2007

    (7) "Children's Oral Health Fact Sheet," from the Office of the Surgeon
        General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2000; last
        updated October 4, 2004.

    (8) "What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay," Academy of General Dentistry,
        January 2007

    (9) "Children's Oral Health Fact Sheet," from the Office of the Surgeon
        General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2000; last
        updated October 4, 2004.

    (10) "Children's Oral Health Fact Sheet," from the Office of the Surgeon
         General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2000; last
         updated October 4, 2004.

SOURCE Procter & Gamble
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